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Removing financial barriers

The Andrew Forbes Award for Visible Minority Accounting Students helps Concordia undergraduates achieve their goals

“I direct my funding to what I perceive to be the greatest need,” says Andrew Forbes, BComm 94, GrDip 95.

Andrew Forbes Andrew Forbes's personal background motivates him to help future generations of Concordia students.

That area is support for students who, otherwise academically qualified, wouldn’t be able to afford their studies at Concordia.

A partner specializing in corporate tax at the accounting firm KPMG in Toronto, the current cost of education in Ontario — and generally at most universities — put things in perspective for Forbes. “If the cost to attend university were this much in Quebec when I studied, I likely wouldn’t have been able to go,” he says.

As a member of a visible minority, it was of further importance to Forbes to encourage those from a similar background to pursue their educational and career goals.

That’s why he established the Andrew Forbes Award for Visible Minority Accounting Students in 2015.

Take the long view

In addition to graduating from Concordia twice, Forbes earned a master’s of law degree, with a tax specialization, from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in 2002, and has expertise in both Canadian and American Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. “It was a competitive environment in 1996 when I obtained the CA designation,” says Forbes. “So I wanted to distinguish myself from my peers by also obtaining the U.S. CPA and, subsequently, earning the master’s degree in tax law.”

Along with his educational achievements, Forbes’s career in accounting/taxation spans two decades. “I’ve been with KPMG in tax for 18 years, 13 as partner and five as a senior manager. Prior to that I was at BDO in Toronto,” says Forbes. “The last job I had in Montreal was at Ernst and Young, as a tax manager.”

Forbes provides tax services to clients operating in the consumer and industrial markets sectors. His clients include mostly large corporations and manufacturers. “Most of the work can be characterized as inbound — meaning providing tax advice/services to foreign companies with Canadian operations or seeking to do business in Canada,” he says.

In making a career, Forbes’s advice to up-and-comers is to take the long view. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” he says. “The goal isn’t to accomplish all your objectives in a year or two.” His hope is that the award for accounting students he funds will help others get their start along that road. “It can be a very rewarding career.”

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Read more inspiring stories like this one in Momentum, Concordia's Donor and Student Awards newsletter.

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